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A deserted oil tanker described as a "floating bomb"

A deserted oil tanker described as a "floating bomb"

The vessel, named FSO Safer, could explode and dump one million barrels of oil into the ocean, experts have warned.


Yemen has been crippled by a civil war following the Iran-backed Houthi uprising that swept the pro-Western government into exile in 2015.

A standoff over the Safer and its £64million-worth of oil has meant it has been left to decay - leading to fears it is on the verge of blowing up.

Explosive gasses are thought to have built up in the decrepit tanker's storage tanks that could rupture any minute, experts said.

The blast would create an "environmental and humanitarian catastrophe" as it sends oil pumping into the sea, according to the UN-recognised Yemeni government.

The United Nations has expressed alarm over the abandoned Safer FSO (which stands for floating storage and offloading) tanker, left unattended off the war-torn Yemeni coast of Al Hudaydah and eroding since 2015, CNBC reports. The UN warned that the vessel, believed to hold 1.14 million barrels of oil, could explode or be torn apart, releasing the crude into the environment, which could result in it becoming one of the worst such man-made disasters.

The platform was earlier branded a “massive floating bomb” in the Red Sea by the NATO-linked US think tank the Atlantic Council. They predicted that volatile gases released from the storage tank in the corrosive maritime environment could lead to a blast.

At the same time, UN officials are said to be blocked from the vessel despite the potential danger and cannot inspect the situation or do anything to avert a possible catastrophe.

Vira Maritime 

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